Local Govts. Step to the Plate on Climate Change
At the recent New England Smart Growth Leadership Forum, organized by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, new data was shared on the role of the built environment in reducing emissions:
"Smart growth and compact development produces 20 to 40 percent fewer vehicle miles traveled (VMT), as do metropolitan regions with density, a mix of uses, well-designed public spaces, street connectivity, and destination accessibility, said Reid Ewing, professor of city and metropolitan planning at the University of Utah. Some 200 studies have confirmed the correlation of travel and the built environment, unrelated to income, he said. It is important to continue to measure things like VMT in relation to the built environment and land use, Ewing said, particularly as green guidelines like LEED-ND (a green building code for neighborhoods) are developed."
"Armando Carbonell, senior fellow and chairman of the Department of Planning and Urban Form at the Lincoln Institute, said that while climate change has been called 'the ultimate externality,' necessitating collective action at the national and global scale, local and regional efforts can chip away at the problem – as long as they are targeted for the greatest impact."